Schools in Schools - Shad Restoration

Schools in Schools - Shad Restoration

The Schools in Schools program engages elementary students in local conservation efforts to restore the population of American shad, a native fish, in the Anacostia River.

American shad is an anadromous species, which means the fish migrate from the sea to freshwater streams and rivers to spawn. A staple during colonial times, American shad saw a drastic decrease in population over the last century. Thanks to local conservation efforts like Schools in Schools, American shad are now making a comeback in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers! 

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Students release their shad fry into the Anacostia River at Anacostia Park; students examine their shad fry up close.

Students raise shad fry (juvenile fish) from eggs in their classrooms, in hatcheries provided by the Anacostia Watershed Society. Using microscopes, students observe the fish hatch, monitor the water quality of the hatchery, and learn about the fish’s life cycle and development during the course of the week. At the end of the week, students release the shad fry into the Anacostia River, where the fish will return as adults to spawn.

Program at a Glance

  • Engages elementary students from Maryland and Washington, D.C. in American shad restoration
  • Offered February - April annually
  • Includes a boat tour of the Anacostia River and a shad “release day” at either Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Maryland, or Anacostia Park in Washington, D.C.
  • Aligned with NGSS standards for 3rd grade

More Information

For more information about this program, please contact our Manager of Education, Kendra Bierman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read more about American shad and the Schools in Schools program by visiting the blog.

2009 video made by a 2nd grade class from Thomson Elementary explaining what they learned about the Shad and the Anacostia Watershed.
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